Fire chief says he called NMB

By Kyle Grainger - bio | email

CONWAY, SC  (WMBF) -  Horry County Fire Chief Garry Alderman says he called North Myrtle Beach to warn them that flames were about to jump Highway 22 the night of the wildfire in Horry County.

Alderman says at 1:50 a.m., he called on the North Myrtle Beach fire dispatch channel to alert them that the fire was headed towards them.

He says that call went unanswered by the city and he went back to the county's fire channel.

"Once I arrived up on Highway 22 and saw how bad it was, and it had already jumped Highway 22 in some of the areas, and I called on the NMB channel. I don't believe it was ever answered, and I switched back to the county channel after that," said Alderman.  "The winds changed, and forestry sometime after 1 a.m. said we better get some units up on Highway 22 [because] he fire was going to jump."

Alderman says he was in the Highway 31 and Hightway 22 area when the fire jumped, and even with his call, homes in Barefoot may have already been on fire.

He says the fire didn't move through Barefoot. The embers did. He says those embers were the cause of the home fires in Barefoot.

"The embers were as big as softballs that were dropping on us up there," Alderman added. "Then, once one house would catch on fire, the houses being so close together caused sort of a domino effect catching the next house and the next house down there."

He says he can't say there was a communication breakdown between the county and the city, but did say that crews stationed on top of Watertower Road should have saw the fire coming long before his call to warn them.

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